FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Darrelle Revis is used to big weeks like this.
The New York Jets cornerback dissects film of the opposing team’s top wide receiver and identifies their tendencies, weaknesses and how he’s going to render them a nonfactor.
After all, shutting down people is what Revis does best. And that’s something the Houston Texans’ Andre Johnson knows from experience.
“He’s the best at what he does,” Johnson said. “Look at it on film. The film doesn’t lie.”
Revis held Johnson to four catches for 35 yards in last year’s opener, the start of what Jets coach Rex Ryan called the best season ever by a cornerback.
“He followed me around the field,” Johnson said.
Plenty of other receivers know the feeling. Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, Calvin Johnson. You name ‘em and the All-Pro cornerback has shut ‘em down. Revis is ready to go 2 for 2 against Andre Johnson on Sunday at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
“I mean, this is the best of the best,” Revis said. “It’s like Jordan and Bird, or Jordan and Magic. We’re going to see who falls at the end of the game. That’s how you’ve got to approach these matchups when you’re going up against the best receivers in the league.”
To Ryan, Johnson is No. 1 at his position, without question. And that makes this weekend’s showdown even more intriguing.
“He’s a matchup nightmare,” Ryan said of Johnson. “We have the only corner in the league that would dare try to cover this guy in man coverage in Darrelle Revis.”
It’s high praise that Johnson concurs with completely.
“He’s earned everything that people say about him,” Johnson said. “When you watch him on film, he’s never going to let you slack off on him. If you slack off, he’s going to take advantage of you.”
The same could be said of Johnson, who’s again among the league leaders with 52 catches for 781 yards and four touchdowns despite nursing a sprained right ankle suffered in Week 2 against Washington. He’s been wearing a flexible brace that he says doesn’t limit his movement, but he still feels pain when he lands on his right foot from certain angles.
All of that hasn’t made Johnson any less dangerous in Revis’ mind.
“How he plays, is more explosive, it’s more aggressive,” Revis said, comparing him to Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, whom he held to one catch two weeks ago. “It’s like he’s a lion out there trying to chase after his prey how he runs his routes and how physical he is.”
Revis has dealt with his own health issues, missing two games earlier this season with a tweaked hamstring that affected his overall performance. Not anymore, though. Revis is back to his shutdown self.
“Being injured, you’re being impatient, you want to be on the field and there’s a lot of other things that mess with your mind when you’re hurt,” Revis said. “But when you’re all healthy, you feel upbeat and you feel like you can do anything in the world.”
Such as completely stop the game’s best wide receivers.
“He has the all-around game,” Johnson said. “He’s great at what he does.”
Ryan tried to pull a fast one earlier this week, telling Texans reporters that Revis might not play man-to-man coverage on Johnson the whole game.
“I just tossed it out there to see if they’d bite on it,” Ryan said with a grin.
Not a chance. And, he knows the Texans aren’t fooled, either.
“We know where he’s going to be,” Ryan said. “If he’s not on him, he’ll be on the same side. I was hoping they’d buy it.”
The Texans have been moving Johnson around the field by playing him on the outside as well as in the slot. That’s where comprehensive film study comes in handy.
“You’ve got to go back to the old stuff to see what you did then against him and what he has done against you,” Revis said. “Then you look at this year’s tape, too, to see what he’s doing different or if he put something in his game that I can key on.”
The same goes for opposing offenses, who have actually been challenging Revis less often than they did even last season.
“They all know the answer to the test now, that it’s probably not a smart thing to do,” Ryan said. “It’s, ‘Oh, by the way, he’s as good as advertised.'”
Just as the matchup between Revis and Johnson should be Sunday.
“When you play this game, you want to go against the best to see where you’re at in your game,” Johnson said. “I’m pretty sure he’s looking forward to the challenge. I’m looking forward to it, too.”
AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan in Houston contributed to this story.